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The Appeal Of Psychoanalysis

The Letter, Issue 50, Summer 2012, Pages 47 - 59


THE APPEAL OF PSYCHOANALYSIS[1]

Barry O’Donnell


This paper gathers remarks made by Freud which differentiate the practice of psychoanalysis from psychotherapy. It will also draw from Lacan’s Seminar 24, L’insu qui sait de l’une bévue, s’aile à mourre, for its consideration of the concept of the unconscious in 1976.


Keywords: psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, object of practice, training


First of all I would like to thank Ros McCarthy[2] for her words of introduction, which are generously brief. The truth is much more problematic in light of the topic of today’s study-day. As well as the practice Ros mentions I am employed in a number of roles, the titles of which combine the terms psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Currently, still, I carry the titles of Head of a Department of Psychotherapy, Course Director of a MA in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (a training in psychotherapy), Director of a Specific Modality training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and tutor on a MSc in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. More worryingly, I have at times announced that I practice psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. I am uneasy. I am concerned that the officers of the Trade Descriptions Board may one day come knocking on my door. I believe I need to clarify my position. Today’s study-day has given me an opportunity to address this question of mine because I also believe that I am not alone in having such a question to address.


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